What with the judicial vicars` trip to Rome from September 27th-October 1st , a period of seven days when I had five funerals as well as a lot of other things and then my long-planned trip to Compostela for the Holy Year ( together with three priests of the diocese) it has been hard to keep up. However there have been good things happening which you will have read of elsewhere. I would just like to mention a few.
Firstly I was delighted to hear about bishop Mark Davies and his declaration of a Year of Mary in the diocese of Shrewsbury. From what I`ve heard people are being asked to say five decades of the Rosary each day but I can`t find any verification of this. Another good thing was the Pope`s letter to seminarians. Such a simple idea yet not one I can recall happening when I was a seminarian. As a canon lawyer and having spent yesterday at the northern canon lawyers` meeting where we were addressed by the ever-entertaining and illuminating Fr David Jaeger of the Antonianum on the subject of recent legislation, I enjoyed this part of the letter:
But you should also learn to understand and – dare I say it – to love canon law, appreciating how necessary it is and valuing its practical applications: a society without law would be a society without rights. Law is the condition of love.
It reminded me of being told in the canon law aula at the Greg that `the law will set you free`! Some of our present difficulties have arisen through failure to follow the law.
Another thing which made me happy was the announcement that archbishops Burke and Ranjith would be made cardinals at the next consistory. When in Rome a few weeks ago one of our ports of call was, of course, the Apostolic Signatura where archbishop Burke spoke to us at length and made us welcome. (Another place we went was the Rota and it was the day before the dean, archbishop Stankewicz ( who had taught us Roman law at the Greg) was due to retire the next day as he was turning 75. He spoke to us with great warmth and at length and so the judicial vicars and their assistants sang `Happy birthday` stumbling a bit when we were unsure whether we should sing `dear archbishop Stankewicz` or `dear dean of the Roman Rota`!) Both archbishops Burke and Ranjith are great friends of the Extraordinary Form.
Another story in the news, as reported by Christopher Lamb in the Tablet last week , was the announcement that a traditionalist group led by LMS treasurer, Paul Waddington, are interested in buying Ushaw. What an incredible thought! It raises the question of who will staff it and who the students will be? The FSSP are the most obvious candidates but as they only have one very recently established house in England it would be a huge leap to go from there to running Ushaw but I suppose they had no houses when they opened the seminary at Wigratzbad in 1988. Clearly Mr Waddington has serious plans as he speaks of Ushaw being run as a `mixed commercial and religious development`. It`s all very exciting anyway. I was thrilled enough to be able to have the LMS training weeks at Ushaw and see St Cuthbert`s chapel used for the liturgy for which it was built but for that to be a permanent feature would be fabulous. It`s certainly a bold idea and one I will include in my prayers.
I hope to write about Compostela soon.